Discussion Topic

The settings in A Wrinkle in Time and their effects on the characters

Summary:

In A Wrinkle in Time, the various settings, including Earth, Camazotz, and Uriel, profoundly impact the characters. Earth represents the familiar and safe starting point. Camazotz, with its oppressive conformity, challenges the characters to resist control and maintain individuality. Uriel, a beautiful and peaceful planet, offers hope and a glimpse of the universe's goodness, motivating the characters in their quest.

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How does the setting in A Wrinkle in Time affect the characters?

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle is a science fiction/fantasy novel for young adults originally published in 1963. The story moves across time and place, with a version of time travel being essential to the plot.

The initial setting is a contemporary (i.e. early 1960s) town in the United States where the protagonist Margaret “Meg” Murry and her brother Charles Wallace Murry live and attend school. Meg and her brother have difficulties at school. This school setting establishes first, a bond of sympathy between the readers and the children, and also emphasizes the closeness and love between Meg and her brother.

The other worlds to which the children travel by means of the tesseract are emblems of the spiritual world, where the fight between good and evil is more immediately obvious than on our world. As the children move from the ordinary earth, through the haunted house, to the alternative worlds, what they reveal are the true nature's of their souls behind their everyday selves, slowly becoming their essential natures.

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How does the setting in A Wrinkle in Time affect the characters?

The settings in A Wrinkle in Time strongly reflect the nature of the moral environment in which the characters are living at any given moment. The settings impact the plot of the story in the sense that characters attain nurture and strength in positive, loving environments and use that to successfully fight evil in oppressive, soul-killing environments. The settings help us as readers understand the nature of good and evil, and why evil needs to be defeated.

An important setting that represents good is the Murry home. It is a rambling, old-fashioned, New England house. Unlike the outer world of school and community and the storm that rages as the novel opens, the house is a center of love and security for Meg and Charles Wallace (and the twins) as well as, later, Calvin. It might be a bit chaotic—Meg sleeps in a comfortable attic but bumps into a table on her way downstairs—yet Meg always knows she will find nurture within these walls. This is depicted early on when Meg, Charles Wallace, and their mother share midnight sandwiches and cocoa in their warm, inviting kitchen.

Camazotz, a planet under the power of the Black Thing, is a setting that contrasts sharply with the Murry household. Seemingly made up of pleasant suburbs, the planet's evil is made clear through the rigid conformity of its people. Everyone does everything at the same time, such as the children bouncing balls outside, and any deviant from the norm is punished. It is impossible to imagine a family on Camazotz gathering for an impromptu midnight snack as the Murrys do.

As the setting on Camazotz moves to the city and the children encounter IT, the evils of mind control become more clear. The children meet an illusory world in which a turkey dinner is really made of sawdust, and the loveless red eyes of IT seek to rob the children of their individuality and humanity.

The details of setting advance the plot by showing the value of freedom and individual self-determination over the evils of mind control. We identify more strongly with the battle the children wage because we know from the images we are confronted with which world is better for human growth.

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How does the setting in A Wrinkle in Time affect the characters?

One way the setting influences the characters in A Wrinkle in Time is by emphasizing their dual nature. For example, look at the main character, Meg. The domestic setting establishes Meg as someone who’s dealing with problems that beset lots of teens. The typical suburban and school environments produce a character who, in many aspects, is not so different from most middle-class teens in the West.

However, Meg has problems that might not be familiar to a lot of teens. Her dad, a talented scientist, has gone missing. He’s imprisoned on another planet. Yet the same setting that produces Meg’s regular struggles also creates her otherworldly dilemmas. Mrs. Whatsit first appears inside Meg’s home. The setting of the home mirrors Meg’s character in its duality. Both Meg and the home possess ordinary and unordinary traits.

Mrs. Whatsit resides in a rather quaint setting with two of her friends. While Mrs. Whatsit can travel among ordinary people and enter domestic spaces, it makes sense for her environment to be a rather removed cabin, as that goes along with her and her friends’ special abilities.

On Camazotz, the setting physically influences the characters. The characters face bodily harm because of the high-tech tyranny of It. Charles Wallace is particularly impacted by It. His failure to vanquish It transforms him into a bot-like crony.

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What are the settings in A Wrinkle in Time?

The action in Madeleine L'Engle's delightful tale A Wrinkle in Time takes place across a number of settings, some “normal,” others fantastic. These settings stretch across the universe as Meg and Charles Wallace travel with their father and their friend Calvin on some amazing adventures.

The story begins on Earth in an unnamed town that is like many other small towns in America. The lack of a name is purposeful, for it draws readers into the story and makes them think that they, too, might someday have fantastic experiences for themselves.

As the story progresses, three strange “ladies” who are really supernatural beings, transport Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin through the universe by tesseract to the planet Uriel, which is a place of love inhabited by beings who look like Centaurs. Next, they visit the unnamed planet of the Happy Medium who shows the children that the Earth is partly in darkness because of the evil Black Thing spreading throughout the universe.

The children's next stop is Camazotz, a dark planet where Meg and Charles Wallace's father has been held captive by the evil IT. Meg, her father, and Calvin escape to the planet Ixchel where they are cared for by strange creatures who look horribly scary but are really wise, kind, and caring. Meg, however, goes back to Camazotz to rescue Charles Wallace, who is under the control of IT. Her love saves her brother, and the whole party tessers back to Earth, home, and safety.

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What is the setting of Chapter Four in A Wrinkle in Time?

Chapter Four of A Wrinkle in Time is set on the planet of Uriel, the third planet around a very distant star, Malak. This is quite confusing to Meg, Calvin, and Charles Wallace; not only is the weather and the countryside different, but Mrs. Whatsit changes form, revealing her true self to be some sort of flying centaur.

The main problem with the children, Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Whatsit being on the distant planet is that it has happened in an instant. It is an impossible distance to travel, even at the speed of light. Mrs. Which explains that they have instead brought the two distant points together, rather than traveled between them. The book gets its title from this "wrinkling" of time and space.

The other important aspect of the planet Uriel is that is the first place the children see the dark cloud of the evil that their father is fighting.

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